Support Pal’s Book Review Page

Welcome to Gift From Within’s Support Pal’s Book Review Page

These are books that our support pal members recommend

Child Abuse & Recovery:

Cindy Lou:

Titles:

“A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive.” by Dave Pelzer. (Amazon rating 4.5 stars). $9.95.
“The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family.” by Dave Pelzer. (Amazon rating 5 stars). $8.76.
“A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness.” by Dave Pelzer. (Amazon rating 4.5 stars). $11.00.

Dave Pelzer has an amazing tale to tell (don’t we all) and has told it. You can follow him through his childhood journey in the first book of his series. “A Child Called It” recaps his childhood living in an extremely abusive home. When his case was found out it was classified for a time as the most extreme case of child abuse during that time period in California!!! The book ends in his escape from the home and leads into the second book “The Lost Boy” which talks of his time in foster care and his continued search for healing from such a horrendous childhood. Leading up to the third book “A Man Named Dave” in which he speaks of his adulthood and the trials he faces as he searches to get past those things his mother did to him. Dave Pelzer doesn’t give advice or suggest healing in these books… they are strictly his journey. However, it’s interesting to read all three books so that by the end of the third you can read how he does finally arrive at a place of healing and peace. Dave Pelzer currently travels and does public speaking on the horrors he faced and his journey to recovery.

Domestic Abuse:

Patti:

Fowler, Connie May. Before Women Had Wings. New York: Ballantine Books,
1996.

Fowler, Connie May. When Katie Wakes: A Memoir. New York: Doubleday,
2002.

Those of you who have not become acquainted with the writings of Connie May Fowler are missing a treat. “Before Women Had Wings” deals with domestic violence and child abuse. Told from a child’s perspective the story is very realistic and touching, perhaps because Fowler delves into her own past for some of the experiences she shares. The book graphically displays how domestic abuse can flourish into child abuse due to the mother’s withholding of affection and rage directed at her children. In her latest book, “When Katie Wakes,” Fowler continues to portray the legacy. This book is her memoir of her own experience of the abused child in adulthood and how her crushed self-esteem results in her lack of ability to leave an extremely abusive relationship.

It would be difficult for me to place a value on this book. Since it so clearly mirrors my own life I cried for two hours after finishing it. It is a difficult book to read for those living in an abusive relationship. However it offers compassion and hope in the way that only a fellow-sufferer can share. For those who have left such a relationship, it will trigger bad memories while also fanning the flames of determination to help others. For those still entrapped, it offers a priceless empathy that is more comforting than I can say.

Patti:

“Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You” by Patricia Evans. (Amazon rating 5 stars). $10.36.

When reviewing this book for Amazon Books I said that “after the Bible, this book is paramount in importance when compared to any other book ever written.” That may seem a bold statement when one considers the vast volumes of treasured books written throughout history. Coming from the standpoint of a person in an abusive marriage for 23 years, who has been through counseling, read self-help books and sought help everywhere, I hope that my words carry some weight. This book was very helpful. Along with Evans’ two other books on Verbal Abuse I can understand the dynamics behind my husband’s behavior. What is so important about “Controlling People,” however, is its value to all readers. Whether you think you’ve been controlled or not, this book is for you. “Controlling People” explains how people try to control you, even when you don’t realize it. This is a must read for any audience.

DID/MPD:

Mary:

“Multiple Personality Disorder From The Inside Out” edited by: Barry M. Cohen, Esther Giller, and Lynn W.

I have found a book everyone with DID/MPD should have! I have given copies away to close friends to help them understand DID more effectively. It is a book written by DID’s! Short essays (a paragraph to a couple pages and some poetry of the things they wish people would understand about them and DID. The Chapters include:” Diagnosis, Pain, Skeptics, Therapy Sessions, Therapy Disappointments, Hope, Unification, Families and friends, Other’s Voices.”

The doctors that put the book together sent out questionnaires to DIDs
asking 3 questions:

1. “What do you wish you had known about DID/ MPD when you were first
diagnosed?”

2. “What would you like therapists to know about the experience of DID/MPD?”

3. (my favorite and most handy) “What do you think spouses, friends,and/or supportive family members should know about DID/MPD?”

4. Significant Others were asked…”What would you like to share with other friends and supportive family members of individuals with DID/MPD?”

They had responses from over 150 people!

The Chief of the unit on DID at the National Institute of Mental Health
sums it up on the back of the book: “A helpful and hopeful look at another way of being, this book dispels the misleading stereotypes of MPD and illuminates the underlying human experience of this tragically misunderstood condition. A must for anyone whose life has been touched by this complex disorder.”

Healing & Recovery:

Cindy Lou:

“Woman Thou Art Loosed: Healing the Wounds of the Past.” by T.D. Jakes. (Amazon rating 5 stars). $10.99.
“Woman Thou Art Loosed Workbook.” by T. D. Jakes. (Amazon rating 5 stars). $7.99.

This book is amazing in that it helps to heal the hurts of the past. T.D. Jakes covers every aspect that a woman could possibly need to heal from. And he walks you through different healing steps, from prayer to forgiveness. He speaks to the child that was hurt and goes to the other end of the spectrum and speaks to the elderly. He refers to conflicts in marriage, divorce, and singleness, child abuse, sexual abuse, alcholism. I found his book resourceful and helpful. I no longer felt lost in oblivion in the healing process, but there was hope and a way through my pain.

The author doesn’t just tell the women to “get over her hurts” as many in the religious community try to do. But he speaks specifically to the hurts and pains and walks you through steps to get through them. It’s definitely one everyone should read.

Joyce:

Constructive Living by David Reynolds. (Amazon rating 5 stars). $9.95.

Back in 1987, a friend and I took a course called Constructive Living. Before I took the course I read this introductory book by Reynolds. I was fascinated by this psychotherapy or practice of dealing with one’s problems. It comes from Japanese sources that were influenced by Buddhism. I’m not a Buddhist but these simple principles work for me and have been useful for me when dealing with issues and/or problems that arise in every day life…from the office to the personal.

The three principles are accept your feelings, know your purpose and do what needs to be done. Sounds easy but it takes time for a person to learn to accept feelings and just see how they flow and change according to time and attention. You can give attention to purpose even while having a variety of feelings, some that seem contradictory. What is it that you want to achieve or accomplish? I have used these principles for many years.

I’m glad that I can go back to these tools because that is what they are. Using C.L. clears the air, it’s grounding. The chapter on mislabeling is also fascinating. This is the first in a number of books by Reynolds. Other recommended books are Even in Summer the Ice doesn’t Melt and Playing Ball on Running Water. Any one of his books will give you a good idea of this practice and how you can use it to overcome problems. Naikan is another aspect of Constructive Living. It provides a method of looking inward that helps you to nurture your feelings of gratitude.

Inspirational:

Joyce:

“Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lesson.” Mitch Albom. (Amazon rating 4.5 stars). $12.60.

I loved this book. Basically during weekly meetings, Morrie teaches Mitch Albom, a burned out sports writer important essential lessons about life. The lessons go on in Morrie’s house he (Mitch’s former professor) is dying from a disease, ALS. I would have liked to known someone as wise as Morrie in my life. Morrie teaches Mitch who is not particularly happy in his own life how he might reconsider his old attitudes since they are not succeeding in making his happy. Mitch is on the fast track and successful but personally his life is not what he hoped it could be. I believe Mitch knew something was missing, something important deep inside. Morrie questioned Mitch and did it with love, compassion and humor. It is a real page turner and an easy read for those very busy. And you will feel good at the end of this book. It’s leaves you with the urge to rethink your personal issues and attitudes. At the very least it led me to rethink and reconsider old patterns of behavior.

Rape & Recovery:

Cindy Lou:

“She’s Come Undone.” by Wally Lamb. (Amazon rating 4 stars). Oprah’s Book Club. $7.99.

She’s Come Undone is an amazing book which at first is seemingly for entertainment only. I find that I read this book at least once a year. Even though it’s in the entrainment “section” it truly is a book directed for inner healing. This book is written from a woman’s perspective yet it’s a man writing it. Oddly enough, he’s dead on for the most part though. The story opens as the main character is a young child. We follow her through her childhood, youth in which she experiences rape, and young adult years all the way till she finds healing. This is a book that made me hope that I too could eventually find healing.

Self Harm:

Patti:

Miller, Dusty. Women Who Hurt Themselves: A Book of Hope and Understanding.
New York, NY: Basic Books: 1994.

Dusty Miller’s “Women Who Hurt Themselves” deals with what she calls Trauma Re-enactment Syndrome (TRS), a tendency that causes some women to relive childhood pain by harming their own bodies. In her book Miller examines the relationship between childhood suffering, which was inflicted on the child by someone else, and self-inflicted pain that occurs in adulthood. After examining the dynamics of why women harm their own bodies, she details the type of therapy that is most successful in treating these women, including a chapter for the victim to share with her therapist. She includes the need to understand PTSD in the victim”s suffering. Miller discovered the often-used concept of the victim’s tendency to “act out” the role of her “abuser,” her “passive bystander” and her own role as “victim.”

I found this book to be very comforting. Since self-mutilation is so misunderstood it is something the victim finds difficult to talk about. There is a definite veil of secrecy associated with it. Since it serves a definite purpose to the victim, she guards her self-mutilation as if it was a dear friend. In fact, self-mutilation, strangely enough, can be a lifesaver until the victim gets into successful therapy and is able to replace it with more healthy ways of coping. I highly recommend the book for those who may be involved in any type of self-pain or mutilation, as well as for those who have friends or loved ones they suspect are engaging in this practice. Miller deals with the subject in a caring, compassionate and knowledgeable manner.

Trauma & Addiction:

Kris:

“Trauma and Addiction: Ending the Cycle of Pain Through Emotional Literacy,” by Tian Dayton, Phd., (Amazon rating 5 stars). $10.36.

I found this book quite helpful. I truly feel it is worth a read. I just touched on a few topics to give you an idea of the content. It explained why you feel the way you do, or don’t feel for that matter; it just answered a lot of questions for me. Although it is geared for alcoholics (of which I am not and still found the book a great resource), it is also trauma based and talks about PTSD a great deal: talks about unresolved childhood trauma and how that affects our adult life; how trauma periods undermine healthy relationships; what the typical personality characteristics are that you are left with because of trauma, (explains why you are the way you are and that because of those experiences, you are normal for what you went through); explains why you feel “stuck,” and how trauma affects your physical as well as your emotional self. Most importantly, it attempts to show you how you can effectively work this through.

Favorite Fiction Books:

Cindy Lou:

“The Blue Bottle Club.” by Penelopy Stokes. (Amazon rating 4.5 stars). $10.39.

This is a great escapist kind of book but it also has a good message. I
enjoyed reading it. It will help you take your mind off the things going on
around you and is relaxing and at the same time inspirational.

A reporter not sure which direction her life is headed finds a blue cobolt
bottle in a mansion being torn down. Inside the bottle she finds a peice of
paper where right before the Great Depression in l929, four teenagers wrote
down the desires they had for their future. The reporter was intrigued. She
wondered whether these people still were alive and if their dreams came true.
So the reporter decides to pursue this idea for a human interest story and in
the process finds herself and realizes she can make some of her own goals for
the future. I loved it. Very inspirational. A MUST READ!

“The Amethyst Heart.” by Penelopy Stokes. (Amazon rating 5 stars). $10.39.

I don’t have a lot of time to read with two small children and working full
time but I do like this author, Penelopy Stokes and I’m recommending a few of
her books.

This excellent and highly entertaining novel is particularly fun to read if
you’re in the mood to escape everyday normal routines! This book opens with
a great-grandmother living in a pre-civil war house celebrating her birthday
with her son, his wife and their grandchild (HER great-grand daughter).
After discovering a plot that her son has against her and her ancient mansion
she sends him and his wife on an ice cream run and locks the place up holding
her great- granddaughter hostage to the mansion and all of the wonderful
stories that she begins to tell the great-granddaugther. Of course after a
few hours and becoming enraptured in the history of the house the
great-granddaughter doesn’t feel like a hostage. Travel with them all the
way back to before the civil war and learn a few secrets along the way!